The autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe began its work on September 29 in Strasburg. The agenda of the session was discussed in the first half of the day. The agenda included cancellation of capital punishment in countries with observer status in the Council of Europe, the relations between this organization and non-governmental organizations, rights of national minorities, general policy in migration and asylum, fulfillment of commitments taken by Ukraine, a threat to democracy in Europe on behalf of extremist movements and parties, reform of public health system in Europe, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, world economy and others.
In the afternoon, the issues of national minoritie's rights and the state of fulfillment of Ukraine's commitments to the Council of Europe raised wide discussions.
After the sitting, a member of the permanent delegation of Azerbaijan to PACE, Milli Majlis (Parliament) member Samed Saidov gave interview to AzerTAj. In particular, he said, "In difference with previous years, the autumn session started earlier, because of a joint session of the European Union and the Council of Europe. The processes going on in Europe were discussed at the session.
Participation of the delegation of Azerbaijan in that session is very important for us. As a full member of the Council of Europe, our country maintains its close relations with the European Union. The delegation tries its best to agree its opinion, its position with those two organizations. At the joint session it was especially underlined that Azerbaijan has made its choice and being a part of western civilization, intends to preserve, defend and develop its national values and mentality.
It should be pointed out, next day after the joint session, on September 26, a Bureau of the Council of Europe was held. It was extremely important for our delegation. The Bureau was supposed to raise the issue connected with the analysis of pre-electoral situation in Azerbaijan. Of course, this issue was not related to Azerbaijan only, it was supposed to embrace mainly the elections have been recently held in Armenia and the upcoming elections in Georgia and to be included into the agenda.
This question was put on voting, but as a result of explanatory work carried out by the delegation of Azerbaijan with Bureau members and acknowledgement of processes going on in our country by the leaders of the Council of Europe, there was taken a decision not to include this issue into the agenda of PACE autumn session and majority of the Bureau members voted for this decision. It should be reminded that despite of this decision of PACE Bureau, each deputy has a right to try to put this issue into the agenda at his own initiative.
As you know, there are some deputies among PACE members who dislike our country. At the session of September 29, as a result of activity of these forces, the issue was re-put on discussion and voting for, they said, discussion of pre-electoral situation and development of democratic institutions in South Caucasus. During the elections, 65 deputies voted for excluding the issue from the agenda and 41 - con.
The taken decision was confirmed at the PACE session: pre-electoral situation in Azerbaijan should not be analyzed. It may influence the elections. There was taken a decision to discuss the issues related to Azerbaijan not at this particular but at one of the regular sessions.
A 3rd anniversary of Azerbaijan's membership in PACE will be marked at the session to be held in January. The session is expected to discuss the issue on fulfillment of commitments to the Council of Europe by Azerbaijan. Our delegation is ready to these discussions.
I say again, no issue related to Azerbaijan will be put on discussions at the autumn session of this organization.
The agenda of PACE has been already adopted. The issues to be discussed are among interests of our country. For instance, one of the issues discussed today was connected with the rights of national minorities. Deputy Gultekin Hajiyeva and me made speeches during the debates on this issue. We underlined when Azerbaijan joined the CE convention on national minorities rights, it was not a member of that organization yet, national minorities in our country enjoy all kind of rights, their rights are protected by the state.
Some deputies were trying to attach ethnic features to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. In our speeches, we underlined again that the conflict is not of ethnic character. This is invasion of Armenia in the territory of Azerbaijan and conflict connected with territorial claims. The other member of our delegation Ali Abbasov attracted the attention of deputies to the article in the framework of PACE Convention on rights of national minorities "National minorities should observe territorial integrity and political independence of the country of residence" and stated that Armenia have violated this article.
He pointed out that this issue has not found its reflection in the report that is why it cannot be considered as complete.
Ali Abbasov took part in discussion of the issue connected with Ukraine, analyzed the processes going on in that country, supported some questions, represented our relations with Ukraine at high level".
The session continues its work.
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